- The New South Wales government is easing its restrictions along the state’s border with Victoria.
- NSW is creating a border region that extends 50km either side of the border, allowing residents within that region to travel over to the other side.
- However, these residents must have a ‘border region resident’ permit to do so.
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The restrictions along the New South Wales-Victoria border will ease this Friday.
Back in July, the NSW-Victoria border was closed for the first time in a century as the coronavirus cases in Victoria continued to increase. But after concerns raised by border communities, the New South Wales government announced it will reinstate a border region that spans around 50km on either side of the border. According to the Sydney Morning Herald, the border region currently spans 2.5km either side of the border.
Residents within the wider border region will be allowed to go into NSW for work, to access education services (if they can’t already do it from where they are), get necessary goods and services and for care and compassionate reasons.
But people in these communities will need a ‘border region resident’ permit to move around in this area.
The rules around the permit
If you’re a NSW resident, you’re only allowed to enter Victoria based on the reason on your permit. You can’t go anywhere in Victoria if it’s outside the border region. The same rules apply if you’re on the Victorian side of the border region and you want to enter NSW.
However, Victorians can’t head over to NSW if they’ve been in Greater Melbourne or a COVID “area of concern” in Victoria within the last 14 days.
The border region and permit will be enforced from Friday, September 4.
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the state government was happy to roll out these changes following the reduced community transmission risks across regional Victoria.
“We are working hard to reduce the angst and frustration caused by this border closure,” she said in a statement.
Deputy Premier John Barilaro said in a statement the changes were designed to give more freedom to those in border communities.
“Last week I travelled to the southern border town of Albury-Wodonga to meet with business owners and families along with the education, health, construction, and social services industries who have been disaffected by the border closure,” he said.
“In listening to the community it was immediately clear that we needed to make some changes, which included extending mobility within the 50-kilometre border region, and today the NSW Government is doing exactly that.”
Member for Albury Justin Clancy said in a statement he was “pleased that the Premier and government have listened and responded to concerns.”
The border closures across Australia have not only served as a challenge to some border communities, they have also caused disruptions in the tourism sector. According to the Australian Tourism Industry Council’s research, border closures have cost $84 million.